Del Rio, Jags need to return to the playoffs

Jack Del Rio is staying put in Jacksonville.

“Just thought some truth would be good mixed with all the speculation,” Del Rio told Michael C. Wright. “I’ve been in meetings all day with staff members and [general manager] Gene Smith preparing our offseason plan going forward, and nothing other than that. I’m always honest with you and that is exactly what occurred.”

Wright said an announcement is expected this afternoon.

Del Rio’s got three years and $15 million left on his deal, and that contract certainly helped owner Wayne Weaver decide to stay the course.

But it was a bizarre couple of days, with rumors and reports about USC’s interest in Del Rio flying and Del Rio putting in a full day at the office Monday with Weaver not being in.

This morning before he met with Weaver, Del Rio told Jacksonville TV stations in the team parking lot that reports of an offer from USC were “manufactured.”

If such talk was in fact figments of peoples' imaginations -- and I have no reason to believe Del Rio was not being forthcoming -- he could have done a lot more, and sooner, to help that talk go away.

By not snuffing them out, he could have complicated his situation with Weaver.

It appears it didn’t and things are moving ahead with plans for 2010.

I would suspect a playoff appearance is a necessity for Del Rio in 2010. His record through seven seasons is 58-57 and one postseason game.

Stability is generally good, but you’ve got to win with it.